Behind the scenes in negotiations that averted government shutdown, President Obama had just agreed to House Speaker John Boehner’s request to include a Republican policy rider to ban taxpayer funding of abortion in Washington, DC, but Boehner wanted more: to defund Planned Parenthood.
The response from the president was blunt.
“Nope. Zero,” the president told Boehner, according to a senior Democratic aide. “And then the Speaker tried to engage it.”
“Nope. Zero,” the president replied again. “He was like, ‘John, this is it.’”
“There were a good 10 minutes of just sitting there of everybody looking at each other,” the aide recalled. “I mean, it was like, there’s nothing to do here. The store’s closed.”
“It was awkward, like, what do you do now?”
“They realized that kind of the gig was up,” the aide said of Republicans. “They weren’t going to get it included. It wasn’t going to happen. The president and Sen. Reid were prepared to say, ‘This bill will go down if you make this about social policy.’ That was the line in the sand.”
The Republicans blinked.
They yelled and maneuvered and threatened throughout the budget standoff, holding one group of Americans hostage after another – low-income women, seniors, students, and even viewers of Sesame Street.
But today the Democrats have shown that they will not be bullied by the Tea Party into abandoning our core values.
Instead, we won. And the Republicans lost.
Now’s not the time to let up! Please contribute $10 or more to elect Democratic state legislators who oppose the GOP’s radical agenda!
PBS will remain on the air. Low-income women will continue to have access to life-saving medical care. Vital job-creation efforts have been saved from the GOP’s irresponsible cuts. The EPA will continue to have the power to do its job.
All these items and more represent stinging defeats for the Republicans, who’d assumed they could march to Washington and enact whatever radical social agenda they wanted – even if they’d kept it hidden during the campaign.
Not today they can’t – and they won’t ever if enough progressive Democratic legislators continue to stand in the way.
Help elect more Democratic state legislators who’ll fight back against the radical GOP agenda – can you contribute $10 or more to the DLCC?
Let’s be clear about what happened. President Obama and the Democrats didn’t get everything we wanted. The Republicans negotiated in bad faith until the very end, constantly moving the goalposts like they always do.
But at a certain point, Democrats made a demand of their own: Accept a deal that’s fair to both sides, or face the consequences alone.
And the Republicans folded like a cheap lawn chair.
This isn’t over – let’s not lose sight of that. The Republicans will keep trying to pass their radical agenda for as long as they cling to power.
And we’ll have to fight back even harder every time.
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee